Pope Francis appealed for a “culture of care” in his message for the 2021 World Day of Peace released on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. The Church’s Spiritual and Corporal Acts of Mercy can help guide us towards this “culture of care”.
Comforting the sorrowful, especially those dealing with grief, is one of the Spiritual Acts of Mercy.
Comforting the Sorrowful
Be open to listening and comforting those who are dealing with grief. Even if we aren’t sure of the right words to say, our presence can make a big difference.
• Lend a listening ear to those going through a tough time.
• Make a home cooked meal for a friend who is facing a difficult time.
• Write a letter or send a card to someone who is suffering.
• A few moments of your day may make a lifetime of difference to someone who is going through a difficult time.
Hello and welcome to funeral facts with Deacon Marc. This will be a section of a weekly blog where we talk about funeral facts from a Catholic perspective, something none of us really want to talk about but it’s important for all of us to understand because we all have to deal with it at one point or another with family, loved ones, and eventually with ourselves.
So, let us begin today. We’re talking about why do we have funerals and what is the order of Christian funerals?
The Church has had funerals since day one we can see that with Lazarus with Christ when he raised him from the dead and we throughout church history funerals have played an important role within the Catholic faith. So, why do we have them?
I’ve asked this question to people and one of the most interesting responses I get was well we need do something with the body.
Well, yes we need do something with the body but we want do that respectfully and there are reasons why we have funerals, and really there are four primary reasons why we have funerals. We can have all these other reasons but there are four primary ones.
One, we want to worship God. We want to come together and worship Him for He gave us our lives, and He gave us that opportunity to be with that person and so we’re thanking Him and worship Him.
We’re also thanking God and remembering about His mercy that He has for us, His ultimate mercy. None of us deserve that mercy but He is merciful, loving, and we trust in His mercy and so we thank Him for that mercy.
The third reason is to fill that void of loss that we have with that person who’s no longer with us and so we come together as a community we pray with each other, we grieve with each other, and we’re filling that void with Christ and God at our center of our lives.
And then the fourth reason is probably maybe the most important reason is; we’re praying for that person on their journey. Christ told us that not everybody goes to heaven he says that the gate is narrow and the road is thin and not everybody is going to get through that and so we want to pray for that person on their journey on their journey to the heavenly Father.
Four reasons why we have Catholic funerals:
1) Worship God
2) Thank God for His mercy
3) Fill the void of loss with faith
4) Pray for the deceased
So then what does a funeral look like?
You know I can remember growing up when we had funerals it would seem like they would go on for an entire week and things have changed over the years but the one piece that has remained the same is there really are three stations to the order of Christian funerals.
First, we have the vigil, this is when the community comes together and they start remembering the person, they also start praying to God and coming together and filling that time with the love of God you know in a prayerful type of way.
The second piece is the funeral liturgy, typically this is the mass that can be a funeral liturgy outside of the mass but this is when we go to the source and summit the Eucharist and we pray for that person and we have that mass in honor and intention for that individual.
And then, finally we have the committal, and this is typically out of the grave site where we say the final prayers and we commend that individual to God and to their last lasting resting place.
And so there are those three stages and it’s interesting when you look at those three stages it really goes from the home, to the church, to the cemetery, and it’s like a procession of taking that person on a journey and we go on that journey with them. So, we’re going from the home of the vigil to the to the church with the mass and finally to the cemetery with the committal.
So, three stations we’ll be talking about those more in depth over the next couple weeks but that does for today’s issue of funeral facts with Deacon Marc.
We hope they have a blessed week!
Catholic Funeral & Cemetery Services of Colorado
A Ministry of the Archdiocese of Denver
Flowers have played an important role in funerals for hundreds of years. They are looked upon as a way to honor the deceased, represent the fragile nature of life, and bring comfort to those left behind. Today you can find flowers being used in funerals in the way of sprays and other arrangements, referred to as funeral flowers, as well as smaller arrangements referred to as sympathy flowers being sent to the family in mourning. Directors of funeral homes in Denver, CO. share more about what you need to know about these two types of arrangements.
As mentioned, funeral flowers are used as part of the funeral. They can also be used in other services such as wakes, viewings, and visitations. Most all funeral flower arrangements will be sent by family or very close family friends. Because these arrangements are used in the funeral they are delivered to the funeral home or church rather than an individual family member’s home.
Most often funeral flowers will be in arrangements that include:
Shapes such as hearts and crosses
While funeral flowers are a visual tribute to the deceased, sympathy flowers are meant to offer support and express sympathy for the grieving family. These arrangements are typically smaller and are delivered straight to the family member’s home.
Funeral flowers are typically only sent by family or very close family friends, but sympathy flowers can be sent by friends, extended family, and even acquaintances. Anyone who wishes to send their condolences can do so with sympathy flowers.
You can find premade arrangements through online retailers and florists. You can also visit a local florist or retailer and have them create a special one-of-a-kind arrangement to send.
Best Types of Flowers
No matter what type of arrangement you are sending, there are some types of flowers that are more appropriate than others for this circumstance. Some of the most popular and common flowers and their meanings are:
Lilies– represent rebirth
Orchids– express hope, peace, and courage
Tulips– signify peace, love, and hope
Daises– represent hope and peace
Snapdragons– excess grace and strength
Iris– show faith, courage, admiration, and wisdom
Gladiolus– express integrity and strength
Lavender– represents devotion, grace, and purity
Things to Consider
When sending funeral flowers, you will want to make sure you send them directly to the church or funeral home. Make sure to include the name of the deceased or the family on the card so that the location will know which funeral they are for.
Also, because these flowers are being used in the funeral, you will need to make sure you send them in a timely manner so they will arrive in time.
With sympathy flowers, you have more flexibility when it comes to sending them. You can feel free to send these flowers anywhere from right after the passing to a few weeks afterward. Don’t hesitate to send an arrangement because you think too much time has passed as the delivery of flowers is always a welcomed gift that brightens anyone’s day.